Behind the Scenes with an Oscars Show Writer

With the Oscars just days away, Melissa Block chats with Academy Awards writer Bruce Vilanch, who has been on the Oscars writing staff for almost 20 years.

Jon Stewart is hosting the show. He's got his own group of writers from Comedy Central furiously working on his material.

A handful of other writers are coming up with copy for the presenters. Among that sweaty throng is Vilanch, whose group is responsible for "everything but what the host is doing, to start with," he says. "Everything the presenters say, all of those speeches — basically everything on the show with the exception of the acceptance speeches, which usually give us fuel for whatever we're going to rewrite during the show."

The group rewrites as the show goes along. They have a writing room right off stage and are also in the wings. There's a TV and a phone that goes to the control room.

"We watch the show like everybody else and react to it as we go along and start rewriting," Vilanch says. It starts to resemble the floor of the commodities exchange, he says.



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